D&D Mixed Reviews: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures.

It’s been a few months without a “major film release.” Now kicking off the storm of summer action films is the sequel to one of the highest grossing films of all time, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Like all Mixed Reviews, Derek and Denis will review the film in four categories; PLOT, PERFORMANCES, PRODUCTION and OVERALL FILM QUALITY. The review will then end with a score of SEE iN THEATRES. WAIT FOR RENTAL or PASS.

Before we get into the review here’s a overview of the films plot.

Picking up some time after the events of the Avengers solo films, we open with the team attacking a Hydra fortresses. Over the past few months the team has been busy as Captain America (Chris Evens), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) have been trying to locate the source of the last films Alien attacks, Loki’s staff.

While the heroes do find the staff they get more than they asked for when Stark digs deeper into the base and finds that there was more to Hydra’s experiments. Along with two superhumans; Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) he also finds a machine that the organization was developing. With hopes to use this tech for good, Stark and Banner wake the machine and bring Ultron (James Spader) to life.

While the two’s intentions were good, Ultron has plans to rule the world. The team must work together with new and old faces to stop the multiplying Ultron from destroying the world.

PLOT:

Let’s get this out of the way; the first Avengers film has a lame plot. It relied on Loki and his stick to move things along until it was time for the Aliens to attack. The film was held together with some fun action scenes and tight dialogue but this time, things are different. Age of Ultron features a solid plot, that does simple but important things like setting up plot points and having them pay off. While this might seem like a small bit of common sense, most film writers and directors could learn a thing or two. Each team member has their own moments to shine during the action scenes and the new additions to the roster don’t feel shoehorned in. Despite this, there are a few moments that aren’t great, like Thor running off to jump in a cave that’s not really explained, or when the Avengers just kind hang out on a farm for 12 minute of screen time. But these moments are bookmarked by some solid story telling from Writer/Director Joss Whedon.

Let’s get this out of the way; Thor is handsome and while his movies aren’t the best, his rock hard abs and old timey speak make him delightful. But this movie is about more than one Marvel hero it’s about the Avengers and three additional people that are grafted on as the plot develops. Much of this movie was just glorious fun, and honestly thats all I’ve ever asked of the Avengers movies. The film is dense to say the least and the plot contains enough action set pieces to make Micheal Bay ecstatic. But the denseness, the sheer amount of characters, setups and pay offs are hard for anyone to balance, and while Joss Whedon does a great job it still causes the film to feel a bit unfocused at times. That said, pulling off a film like the Avengers for a second time is quite the feat, and I honestly thought that all the humour and great character moments kept the movie alive and moving. 

PERFORMANCE:

As you’d expect the film allows all of the characters to play around in the sandbox. We get the best parts of each character boiled down into it’s most important parts. Downey brings his timing to Starks one liners, Evans shows strength as a leader, Ruffalo is venerable as Banner and Hemsworth is…very pretty. On top of this, the films allows both Renner and Johansson to grow more with their characters. That being said, the one who truly stands out is Spader as Ultron. There’s a certain wit and dryness that comes from the former Stargate star (that’s his biggest role right?). He steals the show so much that the other new characters, the Maxioff twins and other new Avenger don’t get really anytime to be memorable. But the main core of the cast all give solid performances.

Now we all know the core Avengers are solid and each get something to play with performance wise, but this time around their are some new players and one Avengers that thanks to a lack for mind control is far more compelling this round. Our big bad is Ultron played by James Spader who is just a great villain for the team. Unlike the last entry when another villain was brought in to fight the team, Ultron fits so well as an adversary for the whole group. And the combo of evil robot feelings and a dash of Tony Stark humour, Ultron is a villain that was intimidating and charming in a weird way. Then we have the twins played by the people from that Godzilla movie, they were great, each were solid additions and that’s all I have to add on that topic. Finally Hawkeye gets some character development, and that helped to make him a far more interesting and valuable to the team.

PRODUCTION:

With a budget that’s just under $300 Million, it’s clear that the film is almost as pretty as Hemsworth. The effects look good and allow the larger than life ideas to come to life. The films score blends in with the film extremely well, but their aren’t really any moments where the music stands out. On top of that, the film feels long. While a film that’s almost 150 minutes is a long film, Age of Ultron was broken up by two resting periods. While these segments aren’t long and allow the plot to move forward a little bit, the pacing felt off with some of the characters feeling scattered at times. These few issues aside, the production is extremely high.

As my good old chum mentioned above, da films looks good. The film is long and can feel it’s lengths at parts but overall it’s pretty well paced. The sound is beautiful, some the the camera work is far better than the last Avengers and the great sets all make the overall production quality far better. I think that’s cause their was more on-location shooting, and less helicarrier clean and sterile environments. Or maybe they used better cameras. 

OVERALL: 

In the end, Age of Ultron is a impressive film, that kicks off the summer movie rush. It’s a solid story thats told fairly well with great effects and has some impressive performances form the cast. While the pacing might have dragged a little during the middle sections and while two of the new characters didn’t get time to shine, the film could be the first and best film coming out in Summer 2015. SEE IN THEATRE. 

Age of Ultron I found to be a grander adventure than the last and had multiple moments that were awesome to see. New characters, bad ass villain, and diverse locations made the Avengers seem more larger than life than a group of cosmic aliens ever did. I look forward to seeing it on Bluray when I can appreciate the film without the awful 3D that I had to watch it in. But be honest, despite all we’ve said, your already buying a ticket for it anyway. SEE IN THEATER.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures.

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